Fire on ghost ship off Cork coast 'substantially extinguished'

Cork County Fire Service was called out to the scene near Ballycotton, East Cork, this afternoon
Fire on ghost ship off Cork coast 'substantially extinguished'

Two units of Cork County Council's Fire Service are currently in attendance at the scene of a fire on board the shipwrecked MV Alta near Ballycotton, Co. Cork.

Fire crews will on Friday resume their attempts to put out a blaze onboard a so-called ghost ship on the Cork coast.

A Cork County Council spokesperson said firefighting operations ended around 9pm on Thursday night "due to the rising tide and poor light".

The fire was, they said, "substantially extinguished" and is due to be assessed on Friday morning.

Council chiefs and gardaí have again urged members of the public to avoid the area and not to attempt to gain access to the wreck which "has been further damaged by the fire and is in an unsafe condition".

Gardaì will continue to monitor the situation overnight.

The Cork County Fire Service was called out to the scene of the MV Alta ship near Ballycotton, East Cork, on Thursday afternoon.

Crews began tackling the blaze at around 4pm, and were assisted by other emergency services, according to reports.

Earlier, the council said that two units of Cork County Council's Fire Service were at the scene of the fire on board the shipwrecked MV Alta.

The crews were "monitoring the fire ensuring there is no danger to the public".

The council added: "There are no reports of any casualties and fire crews will continue the monitor situation in this difficult to access location.

"An Garda Síochána and the Irish Coastguard are also in attendance and the public are asked to avoid the area while the emergency services deal with this incident."

The public has been urged not to attempt to gain access to the wreck "which has been further damaged by the fire and is in an unsafe condition".

The MV Alta ran aground near Ballyandreen, just west of Ballycotton, during Storm Dennis in February 2020, and was first spotted by a jogger.

An operation to lift nearly 100 oil drums from the ship followed days later.

All entrances to and from the site, which is on private land at Ballyandreen, near Ballycotton, were sealed off with security guards.

The drums were discovered on board the 77m MV Alta when Cork County Council engineers and contractors first boarded the ship.

Since the ship ran aground, it has been a destination for sightseers. One of the first groups of people to board the ship released a video online last year.

Among the clips available, one showed the ship’s cluttered wheelhouse, which was dry but strewn with perfectly preserved files, documents, and other items.

Two forklift trucks were among machinery seen aboard the ship.

News of the fire comes just a week after the Irish Examiner reported that a recent video of young people exploring the ship emerged.

Several people have uploaded videos of themselves “exploring” the wreck.

One viral video on TikTok has received over 831,000 views and almost 125,000 likes.

TikTok has even attached a warning to one of the videos, saying “the actions in this video could result in serious injury or adverse health effects".

Built in 1976, the Tanzania-flagged Alta was sailing from Greece to Haiti in September 2018 when it became disabled about 2,220km south-east of Bermuda.

The 10 crew members were rescued by the US coast guard and brought to Puerto Rico.

It is believed the ship was then towed to Guyana but later hijacked a number of times.

In September 2019 it was reported that the UK Royal Navy's Devonport-based HMS Protector had come across the ship in the Mid-Atlantic.

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